WBEZ | power plant emissions http://www.wbez.org/tags/power-plant-emissions Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Activists rejoice as coal-fired plants shut down http://www.wbez.org/news/activists-rejoice-coal-fired-plants-shut-down-102129 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Fisk.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 219px; width: 300px; " title="Built in 1903, the Fisk station stands near Dvorak Park in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. (AP file/M. Spencer Green)" /></p><div>Neighborhood and environmental activists are celebrating as Chicago&rsquo;s last two coal-fired electricity plants enter a three-month decommissioning phase. But the closings are leaving dozens of Midwest Generation workers without a job.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The company, a subsidiary of California-based Edison International, says its Crawford station in the city&rsquo;s Little Village neighborhood burned its last lump of coal more than a week ago after operating since 1924. The Fisk station, constructed in 1903 in nearby Pilsen, shut down Thursday night.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Activists campaigned for more than a decade to close the plants or curb their harmful emissions, which included asthma-triggering soot and carbon dioxide, a contributor to global warming.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Standing near Crawford on Friday afternoon, Rafael Hurtado of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization almost had to pinch himself to make sure he wasn&rsquo;t dreaming.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;The smokestack and the chimney are not running,&rdquo; Hurtado observed. &ldquo;The parking lot is empty other than the security guards. This is a victory not only for our organization but Little Village and Pilsen and the city of Chicago.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Local 15 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represented about 135 workers at the plants, says some are accepting retirement packages or transferring to another Midwest Generation site, where they will bump employees with less seniority. The union represents about 700 workers at the company&rsquo;s six Illinois generators.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;There just aren&rsquo;t enough jobs,&rdquo; said Doug Bedinger, a Local 15 business representative for the workers. &ldquo;There will be hardship.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Midwest Generation President Douglas McFarlan said roughly 100 union members are leaving voluntarily while another 50 get laid off.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>McFarlan, meanwhile, said the company is trying to sell the Chicago sites. The timing of environmental remediation &ldquo;depends on the interests&rdquo; of the buyers, he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s part of the sales process,&rdquo; McFarlan said, adding that a school might have different cleanup needs than a warehouse.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The closings resulted partly from federal clean-air rules requiring Midwest Generation to retrofit its plants. McFarlan said a bigger factor was the rise of natural gas production, which has put downward pressure on energy prices. &ldquo;We just can&rsquo;t run profitably,&rdquo; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 31 Aug 2012 18:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/activists-rejoice-coal-fired-plants-shut-down-102129 New Southeast Side power plant reignites air quality concerns http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/new-southeast-side-power-plant-reignites-air-quality-concerns-92068 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-16/352250460_ee2f9e5565_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Residents of the Southeast Side have faced pollution from nearby Indiana coal plants. The decision to shut down an aging plant in the early part of 2011 brought hope for fresher air. But a new plant reignited concerns--and several Southeast Side community groups have since joined forces. Cheryl Johnson, CEO and president of<a href="http://www.peopleforcommunityrecovery.org/#%21page-3" target="_blank"> People for Community Recovery</a>, is part of the alliance. She spoke to <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> about the issues the new power plant raises on the Southeast Side.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2011 13:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/new-southeast-side-power-plant-reignites-air-quality-concerns-92068 Newly proposed EPA aims to curb toxic emissions from power plants http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-24/newly-proposed-epa-aims-curb-toxic-emissions-power-plants-86956 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-24/Fisk Flickr Carlyn Crispell.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency will host a <a href="http://www.epa.gov/airquality/powerplanttoxics/actions.html" target="_blank">public hearing</a> in Chicago. It'll focus on new proposed federal rules to curb dangerous air toxins, such as mercury and arsenic. If adopted, these would be the first federal limits to regulate these emissions under the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/" target="_blank">Clean Air Act</a>.</p><p>The so-called toxins rule would apply to coal and oil fired power plants, including some located here in Illinois.<br> <br> To find out more, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke to Janet McCabe, the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the administrator with the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.<br> <br> And to get a sense for what the new rules would mean for local coal-fired power plants in and around Chicago, host Alison Cuddy also spoke to <a href="http://www.edison.com/ourcompany/mgmt_emg.asp?id=6776" target="_blank">Doug McFarlan</a>, the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for Midwest Generation.<br> <br> Midwest runs a number of power plants in Illinois, including the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Chicago.</p><p><em>Music Button: Bird Show, "Two Organs and Dumbek", from the CD Bird Show, (Kranky)</em><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 24 May 2011 13:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-24/newly-proposed-epa-aims-curb-toxic-emissions-power-plants-86956 Power-plant emissions bill dead, but not for long http://www.wbez.org/story/power-plant-emissions-bill-dead-not-long-85522 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-21/hardhats.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A proposal for Chicago to regulate exhaust from coal-fired power plants may be dying. But the bill’s sponsor, Ald. Joe Moore, 49th Ward, says it will come back to life soon.</p><p>Moore’s legislation is stuck in a joint City Council committee chaired by Alds. Virginia Rugai, 19th, and James Balcer, 11th — close allies of Mayor Richard M. Daley, who opposes the bill. But Moore says he will introduce a similar version after Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel takes office next month and a new City Council convenes.</p><p>The proposal targets fine particulate matter, known as soot, that many health experts blame for respiratory diseases. It would also impose one of the nation’s first limits on emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.</p><p>California-based Edison International, which owns coal-fired generators in two mostly Latino neighborhoods of Chicago, dispatched a top Latino executive to a Chicago City Council hearing Thursday. Pedro Pizarro, president of a company arm called Edison Mission Group, warned that the regulations would force the plants offline.</p><p>“If we take on, unilaterally, costs that our competitors don’t, we can’t compete,” Pizarro told WBEZ after the hearing. “We don’t protect the jobs for employees. We don’t end up serving our customers.”</p><p>The company’s Fisk and Crawford plants, which stand in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods, together employ about 185 workers. The company sells the electricity in the wholesale market.</p><p>Moore accused Pizarro of crying wolf. “Business and industry always claim we’re going to drive them out of business,” the alderman said. “And you know what? If you push them hard enough, they’ll do what they need to do. We have a cleaner environment and a stronger economy as a result.”</p><p>Spectators packed the council chambers for the hearing. Edison’s local unit, Midwest Generation, bused in about 300 employees. Many wore hard hats and blue work shirts. Outside the hearing, they chanted, “Save our jobs!”</p><p>A similar number of environmentalists and neighborhood activists attended to urge the bill’s passage. They tried to hijack the workers’ chant, changing it to, “Save our lives!”</p></p> Fri, 22 Apr 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/power-plant-emissions-bill-dead-not-long-85522